Posts tagged with ‘maps’

Mapping Perspective
Via Al Jazeera:

Why do maps always show the north as up? For those who don’t just take it for granted, the common answer is that Europeans made the maps and they wanted to be on top. But there’s really no good reason for the north to claim top-notch cartographic real estate over any other bearing, as an examination of old maps from different places and periods can confirm…
…There is nothing inevitable or intrinsically correct — not in geographic, cartographic or even philosophical terms — about the north being represented as up, because up on a map is a human construction, not a natural one. Some of the very earliest Egyptian maps show the south as up, presumably equating the Nile’s northward flow with the force of gravity. And there was a long stretch in the medieval era when most European maps were drawn with the east on the top. If there was any doubt about this move’s religious significance, they eliminated it with their maps’ pious illustrations, whether of Adam and Eve or Christ enthroned. In the same period, Arab map makers often drew maps with the south facing up, possibly because this was how the Chinese did it.
Things changed with the age of exploration. Like the Renaissance, this era didn’t start in Northern Europe. It began in the Mediterranean, somewhere between Europe and the Arab world. In the 14th and 15th centuries, increasingly precise navigational maps of the Mediterranean Sea and its many ports called Portolan charts appeared. They were designed for use by mariners navigating the sea’s trade routes with the help of a recently adopted technology, the compass. These maps had no real up or down — pictures and words faced in all sorts of directions, generally pointing inward from the edge of the map — but they all included a compass rose with north clearly distinguished from the other directions.

Image: A perfectly good map. Select to embiggen.

Mapping Perspective

Via Al Jazeera:

Why do maps always show the north as up? For those who don’t just take it for granted, the common answer is that Europeans made the maps and they wanted to be on top. But there’s really no good reason for the north to claim top-notch cartographic real estate over any other bearing, as an examination of old maps from different places and periods can confirm…

…There is nothing inevitable or intrinsically correct — not in geographic, cartographic or even philosophical terms — about the north being represented as up, because up on a map is a human construction, not a natural one. Some of the very earliest Egyptian maps show the south as up, presumably equating the Nile’s northward flow with the force of gravity. And there was a long stretch in the medieval era when most European maps were drawn with the east on the top. If there was any doubt about this move’s religious significance, they eliminated it with their maps’ pious illustrations, whether of Adam and Eve or Christ enthroned. In the same period, Arab map makers often drew maps with the south facing up, possibly because this was how the Chinese did it.

Things changed with the age of exploration. Like the Renaissance, this era didn’t start in Northern Europe. It began in the Mediterranean, somewhere between Europe and the Arab world. In the 14th and 15th centuries, increasingly precise navigational maps of the Mediterranean Sea and its many ports called Portolan charts appeared. They were designed for use by mariners navigating the sea’s trade routes with the help of a recently adopted technology, the compass. These maps had no real up or down — pictures and words faced in all sorts of directions, generally pointing inward from the edge of the map — but they all included a compass rose with north clearly distinguished from the other directions.

Image: A perfectly good map. Select to embiggen.

Mapping Online Reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Al Jazeera has an animated timeline map of prominent hashtags used on Twitter during the ongoing Gaza conflict.

The map runs from June 17 to July 17 and covers hashtags such as #BringBackOurBoys (when three Israelis disappeared while hitchhiking), #MohammadAbuKhdair (when a Palestinian teenager was killed in Jerusalem) and, of course, #IsraelUnderFire and #GazaUnderAttack.

Select to embiggen and view the color key for the screenshots above, or, better, read through to watch the timeline unfold. 

Some context: We’ve written before about PR and propaganda surrounding the Gazan war. Here are a few more:

  • New York Times: At Front Lines, Bearing Witness in Real Time.
  • The Economist: Us and Them — The pummelling of Gaza has cost Israel sympathy not just in Europe, but also among Americans.
  • Quartz: Twitter hashtags are finally neutralizing the Israeli government’s propaganda.
  • CNN Reliable Sources: Red News/Blue News — the Middle East PR war.

Geek notes: The timeline map was put together with CartoDB’s Oddyssey.js.

Food Maps
Via Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves:

In this series we have taken many of the iconic foods of countries and continents and turned them into physical maps. While we know that tomatoes originally came from the Andes in South America, Italy has become the tomato king. These maps show how food has traveled the globe — transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place.

H/T: Slate.

Food Maps

Via Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves:

In this series we have taken many of the iconic foods of countries and continents and turned them into physical maps. While we know that tomatoes originally came from the Andes in South America, Italy has become the tomato king. These maps show how food has traveled the globe — transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place.

H/T: Slate.

Soda/Pop/Coke: How Americans Talk

In 2003, then Harvard professor Bert Vaux conducted the Harvard Dialect Survey, in which he interviewed tens of thousands of Americans about how they talk, and released the results here

In 2012, graduate student Joshua Katz used the data to create a beautiful set of interactive dialect maps.

And in 2013, The Atlantic called up a lot of people, asked them some of Bert Vaux’s questions, layered them over maps inspired by Katz’s and made the video above.

The United States by Mood →

Time Magazine reports on a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that took 13 years to survey 1.6 million people 48 US states (Alaska and Hawaii didn’t have enough respondents) about their personality:

As its name implies, the survey measures personality along five different spectra, with the Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism labels forming a handy acronym: OCEAN.

Each of those categories is defined by more-specific personality descriptors, such as curiosity and a preference for novelty (openness); self-discipline and dependability (conscientiousness); sociability and gregariousness (extroversion); compassion and cooperativeness (agreeableness); and anxiety and anger (neuroticism). The inventory gets at the precise mix of those qualities in any one person by asking subjects to respond on a 1-to-5 scale, from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with 44 statements including, “I see myself as someone who can be tense,” or “can be reserved,” or “has an active imagination,” or “is talkative.” There turned out to be a whole lot of Americans willing to sit still for that kind of in-depth prying, from a low of 3,166 in Wyoming (a huge sample group for a small state) to a high of 177,085 in California.

Researchers then broke the country down into three macro regions based on the results, which were categorized into “temperamental and uninhibited” (New England and the Mid-Atlantic), “friendly and conventional” (the South and Midwest) and “relaxed and creative” (the West Coast, Rocky Mountains and Sun Belt).

Read more about it here, see the map and take a ten question quiz that’ll tell you where you fit in the best. 

Internet Populations
Cartograms are interesting. Instead of displaying political boundaries, they show data boundaries. So, for example, mapping the world across social and economic indicators.
Here, though, is Internet penetration, via the Oxford Internet Institute. It represents who’s online and where.
Via The Atlantic

The map, created as part of the Information Geographies project at the Oxford Internet Institute, has two layers of information: the absolute size of the online population by country (rendered in geographical space) and the percent of the overall population that represents (rendered by color). Thus, Canada, with a relatively small number of people takes up little space, but is colored dark red, because more than 80 percent of people are online. China, by contrast, is huge, with more than half a billion people online, but relatively lightly shaded, since more than half the population is not online. Lightly colored countries that have large populations, such as China, India, and Indonesia, are where the Internet will grow the most in the years ahead.

And, via the Oxford Institute’s Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata, some trends:

First, the rise of Asia as the main contributor to the world’s Internet population; 42% of the world’s Internet users live in Asia, and China, India, and Japan alone host more Internet users than Europe and North America combined…
…The map also reveals interesting patterns in some of the world’s poorest countries. Most Latin American countries now can count over 40% of their citizens as Internet users. Because of this, Latin America as a whole now hosts almost as many Internet users as the United States.
Some African countries have seen staggering growth, whereas other have seen little change since we last mapped Internet use globally in 2008. In the last three years, almost all North African countries doubled their population of Internet users (Algeria being a notable exception). Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, also saw massive growth. However, it remains that over half of Sub-Saharan African countries have an Internet penetration of less than 10%, and have seen very little grow in recent years.
It is therefore important to remember that despite the massive impacts that the Internet has on everyday life for many people, most people on our planet remain entirely disconnected. Only one third of the world’s population has access to the Internet.

FJP: Global mobile penetration? At 6.8 billion mobile subscribers, that’s another story. So, disconnected in a sense. But being mobile can be very connected.
Image: Internet Population and Penetration, via the Oxford Internet Institute. Select to embiggen.

Internet Populations

Cartograms are interesting. Instead of displaying political boundaries, they show data boundaries. So, for example, mapping the world across social and economic indicators.

Here, though, is Internet penetration, via the Oxford Internet Institute. It represents who’s online and where.

Via The Atlantic

The map, created as part of the Information Geographies project at the Oxford Internet Institute, has two layers of information: the absolute size of the online population by country (rendered in geographical space) and the percent of the overall population that represents (rendered by color). Thus, Canada, with a relatively small number of people takes up little space, but is colored dark red, because more than 80 percent of people are online. China, by contrast, is huge, with more than half a billion people online, but relatively lightly shaded, since more than half the population is not online. Lightly colored countries that have large populations, such as China, India, and Indonesia, are where the Internet will grow the most in the years ahead.

And, via the Oxford Institute’s Mark Graham and Stefano De Sabbata, some trends:

First, the rise of Asia as the main contributor to the world’s Internet population; 42% of the world’s Internet users live in Asia, and China, India, and Japan alone host more Internet users than Europe and North America combined…

…The map also reveals interesting patterns in some of the world’s poorest countries. Most Latin American countries now can count over 40% of their citizens as Internet users. Because of this, Latin America as a whole now hosts almost as many Internet users as the United States.

Some African countries have seen staggering growth, whereas other have seen little change since we last mapped Internet use globally in 2008. In the last three years, almost all North African countries doubled their population of Internet users (Algeria being a notable exception). Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, also saw massive growth. However, it remains that over half of Sub-Saharan African countries have an Internet penetration of less than 10%, and have seen very little grow in recent years.

It is therefore important to remember that despite the massive impacts that the Internet has on everyday life for many people, most people on our planet remain entirely disconnected. Only one third of the world’s population has access to the Internet.

FJP: Global mobile penetration? At 6.8 billion mobile subscribers, that’s another story. So, disconnected in a sense. But being mobile can be very connected.

Image: Internet Population and Penetration, via the Oxford Internet Institute. Select to embiggen.

The Magic Behind Google Maps Street View

Six years ago, Google Maps began the street view experiment:

When we first started Street View as an experimental project, we packed several computers into the back of an SUV, stuck cameras, lasers, and a GPS device on top, and drove around collecting our first imagery. Since Street View launched for five U.S. cities in May 2007, we’ve expanded our 360-degree panoramic views to include locations on all seven continents.

We then moved to a van for a brief period, before switching to a fleet of cars that would allow us to scale the project throughout the US and around the world. We went from a rack of computers to one small computer per car, and then set to work refining our camera system to capture higher-resolution panoramic views.

Over the years, they graduated their equipment vehicles from trike to trolley to snowmobile. Now, they’re recruiting trekkers to capture every inaccesible corner of the world with the Street View Backpack.

And you can apply to become a trekker

Images: Selected images from Google Maps Street View - Cars, Trikes and More

Word Association: Mapping the World
Via Martin Elmer:

This map was produced by running all the various countries’ “History of _____” Wikipedia article through a word cloud, then writing out the most common word to fit into the country’s boundary. The result is thousands of years of human history oversimplified into 100-some words.

Image: Laconic History of The World (2012), via Map Hugger. Select to embiggen.

Word Association: Mapping the World

Via Martin Elmer:

This map was produced by running all the various countries’ “History of _____” Wikipedia article through a word cloud, then writing out the most common word to fit into the country’s boundary. The result is thousands of years of human history oversimplified into 100-some words.

ImageLaconic History of The World (2012), via Map Hugger. Select to embiggen.

Google Street View Captures Fukushima Ghost Town
Via The New York Times:

The eerily empty streets of Namie, a town deep in the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are featured in the latest images captured by Google for its Street View mapping project.
The scene is wrenching: houses flattened by the earthquake and now abandoned for fear of radiation; rows of empty shutters on a boulevard that once hosted Namie’s annual autumn festival; ships and debris that still dot a landscape laid bare by the 50-foot waves that destroyed its coastline more than two years ago.
Namie’s 21,000 residents are still in government-mandated exile, scattered throughout Fukushima and across Japan. They are allowed brief visits no more than once a month to check on their homes.

Over at Lat Long, the Google Maps blog, Tamotsu Baba, the town’s mayor, writes:

Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.
Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Image: Screenshot, Google Street View from Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan.

Google Street View Captures Fukushima Ghost Town

Via The New York Times:

The eerily empty streets of Namie, a town deep in the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are featured in the latest images captured by Google for its Street View mapping project.

The scene is wrenching: houses flattened by the earthquake and now abandoned for fear of radiation; rows of empty shutters on a boulevard that once hosted Namie’s annual autumn festival; ships and debris that still dot a landscape laid bare by the 50-foot waves that destroyed its coastline more than two years ago.

Namie’s 21,000 residents are still in government-mandated exile, scattered throughout Fukushima and across Japan. They are allowed brief visits no more than once a month to check on their homes.

Over at Lat Long, the Google Maps blog, Tamotsu Baba, the town’s mayor, writes:

Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.

Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Image: Screenshot, Google Street View from Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan.

So This is What the Internet Looks Like

Peer 1 Hosting has released free mobile apps for Android and iPhone that map the Internet.

Via Peer 1:

Users can view Internet service providers (ISPs), Internet exchange points, universities and other organizations through two view options – Globe and Network. The app also allows users to generate a trace route between where they are located to a destination node, search for where popular companies and domains are, as well as identify their current location on the map…

…[T]he app’s timeline is rooted in real data that uses timeline visualization to display 22,961 autonomous system nodes joined by 50,519 connections based on Internet topology from our partner in this project, CAIDA. We were also able to project what the Internet will look like in 2020 by using an algorithm based on current data, as well as predictions for the growth of the hosting industry by various independent research agencies.

The iPhone app is here (iTunes). The Android app is here (Google Play).

Images: Selected screens from Peer 1’s Internet Map. Select to embiggen.

Submarine Cables
new-aesthetic:

“The design of our new map was inspired by antique maps and star charts, and alludes to the historic connection between submarine cables and cartography.”
Submarine Cable Map

FJP: Slate’s Will Oremus fills in some details.

At first glance, the lines appear to mirror long-proven global trade routes, with major hubs in global capitals like New York, Amsterdam, and Mumbai. But Mauldin notes that there have been no new cables across the Atlantic since 2003. The growth today is in historically under-served regions like Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Nor are all the hubs located in the big cities you’d expect. That phalanx of cables converging on Brazil, for instance, lands not in Sao Paolo or Rio de Janeiro but Fortaleza, simply because it’s an easier hop from the Northern Hemisphere. Another surprisingly popular destination is Djibouti, whose appeal becomes more clear when you consider the relative business-friendliness of its neighbors at the mouth of the Red Sea: Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen.

Submarine Cables

new-aesthetic:

“The design of our new map was inspired by antique maps and star charts, and alludes to the historic connection between submarine cables and cartography.”

Submarine Cable Map

FJP: Slate’s Will Oremus fills in some details.

At first glance, the lines appear to mirror long-proven global trade routes, with major hubs in global capitals like New York, Amsterdam, and Mumbai. But Mauldin notes that there have been no new cables across the Atlantic since 2003. The growth today is in historically under-served regions like Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Nor are all the hubs located in the big cities you’d expect. That phalanx of cables converging on Brazil, for instance, lands not in Sao Paolo or Rio de Janeiro but Fortaleza, simply because it’s an easier hop from the Northern Hemisphere. Another surprisingly popular destination is Djibouti, whose appeal becomes more clear when you consider the relative business-friendliness of its neighbors at the mouth of the Red Sea: Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen.

I say that news organizations should become advocates for open information, demanding that government not only make more of it available but also put it in standard formats so it can be searched, visualized, analyzed, and distributed. What the value of that information is to society is not up to the gatekeepers — officials or journalists — to decide. It is up to the public.

Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine. Public is public… except in journalism?

While the above quote may stand on its own, a little context: not everyone liked the map of gun permit owners that was published in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. Jarvis believes that the decision of whether or not the map is morally sound belongs to the public — not to journalists.

Other media thinkers have said otherwise. The Times’ David Carr argued yesterday that the map, which showed the addresses of gun permit owners in New York’s Westechester and Rockland counties, isn’t journalism.

Well, is it?

Red v Blue, Not So True

Via Chris Howard:

America really looks like this - I was looking at the amazing 2012 election maps created by Mark Newman (Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan), and although there is a very interesting blended voting map (Most of the country is some shade of purple, a varied blend of Democrat blue and Republican red) what I really wanted was this blended map with a population density overlay. Because what really stands out is how red the nation seems to be when you do not take the voting population into account; when you do so many of those vast red mid-west blocks fade into pale pink and lavender (very low population).

So I created a new map using Mark’s blended voting map based on the actual numbers of votes for each party overlaid with population maps from Texas Tech University and other sources.

Here’s the result — what the American political voting distribution really looks like.

Images: Chris Howard’s “blended” voting map, via Facebook (top); Mark Newman’s 2012 voting maps by state, county and percentage vote by county (bottom). Select to embiggen.

Building USA TODAY’s Election Night Maps
MapBox General Manager Dave Cole walks us through the realtime election mapping platform it created for USA Today for last week’s election.
Via Mapbox:

Throughout the 2012 election cycle, we’ve been fascinated with idea of visualizing realtime election results. On election day starting when voting concludes on the East Coast, newsrooms race to process and visualize vote totals in each of the 50 states, 435 congressional districts, and 3,200 counties across the country. The Associated Press provides a feed of results data aggregated from staff deployed across the country on eight minute intervals. Since nearly all news outlets subscribe to this data, the race to report results first is really about having an incredibly short time to publish, while maintaining a steadfast focus on reliability during what’s often the highest traffic night for news websites. The excitement of the night and availability of a reliable source of fast data make this a really exciting problem to solve.

The stack includes:
Live rendering tile server
Server-side static map image generation
Client-side dynamic image manipulation
SVG vectors with VML fallback
Map Rendering
Geodata Processing
Ultimately, MapBox and USA Today developers then created a JSON API to pull the AP’s XML data in to the application for both Web and mobile display.
Read through to learn how it was done and what tools were used.
Image: iPad view of USA Today’s live election results, via MapBox.

Building USA TODAY’s Election Night Maps

MapBox General Manager Dave Cole walks us through the realtime election mapping platform it created for USA Today for last week’s election.

Via Mapbox:

Throughout the 2012 election cycle, we’ve been fascinated with idea of visualizing realtime election results. On election day starting when voting concludes on the East Coast, newsrooms race to process and visualize vote totals in each of the 50 states, 435 congressional districts, and 3,200 counties across the country. The Associated Press provides a feed of results data aggregated from staff deployed across the country on eight minute intervals. Since nearly all news outlets subscribe to this data, the race to report results first is really about having an incredibly short time to publish, while maintaining a steadfast focus on reliability during what’s often the highest traffic night for news websites. The excitement of the night and availability of a reliable source of fast data make this a really exciting problem to solve.

The stack includes:

  • Live rendering tile server
  • Server-side static map image generation
  • Client-side dynamic image manipulation
  • SVG vectors with VML fallback
  • Map Rendering
  • Geodata Processing

Ultimately, MapBox and USA Today developers then created a JSON API to pull the AP’s XML data in to the application for both Web and mobile display.

Read through to learn how it was done and what tools were used.

Image: iPad view of USA Today’s live election results, via MapBox.